In 2017, influencer marketing grew to become an important part of the marketing landscape. Ordinary people with growing follower base (micro-influencers) have allowed brands for wider reach, allowing them to create segmented influencer marketing strategies.
The last few years influencer marketing has been controlled by agencies and influencer networks, not allowing smaller brands with lower budgets to fully discover the potential of it.
This article summarizes the trends I have experienced when working with influencer marketing pioneers as well as brave startups.
1. Brands Will Own Relationship with Influencer
To foster genuine long-term relationships, brands will develop in-house strategies to directly work with influencers. Today, countless of influencer networks and agencies sit between the brand and the influencer, creating an artificial barrier between the influencer and the brand.
2. Three Strategies Will Dominate
We will see three types of strategies used in influencer marketing 2018, whom differ in their focus on ROI, branding and content.
Brands that solely focus on sales. Their products tend to be priced $150-$250 per product (with high profit margins). They get one post in exchange for a product. These brands use personal discount codes for each influencer to track sales.
For these companies, branding and reputation matter. They balance results with relevancy of influencers they work with. Some of these brands focus on a niche audience, for example fashion oriented bloggers.
Most startup brands value content as it saves them time to produce it themselves. Therefore, it is important that the aesthetic of influencer an feed resonates with the brand identity.
Although some brands use multiple of these strategies together there is often one that is prioritized over the others.
3. Brands Will Focus on Emerging Markets to Discover New Influencers
Influencer marketing has blossomed in the US, Germany, UK, Sweden, France and the Netherlands. As in any saturated market, pioneer influencer marketing brands that heavily rely on influencer marketing will struggle to discover new influencers to work with in these markets. As a result, they will look for new markets or lower requirements like follower base to focus more on micro-influencers.
The price of influencers in these countries have increased, still fluctuating. When marketing the exact same product, the price of an influencer with similar following, engagement and audience could differ from $100 to $1000 for one post.
Looking forward, some of the emerging markets we have identified are India, Russia, Turkey and East Europe. It will be easier for brands to find influencers in these countries that haven’t been seen with many brands before.
Communication Differences Founded in Culture
Although it is tempting to use identical strategies worldwide, it is important to be aware of cultural and communication differences. In Germany, influencers prefer to be contacted via email (which often is available on their Instagram profile). In Japan on the other hand, due privacy and trust issues, influencers don’t put their email public.
When working with Japanese influencers, direct message on Instagram is a great way to get started. After introducing yourself, it will be easier to get contact information needed.
4. Winners Will Focus on Profit Margin
Winners in influencer marketing know their numbers. They are analytical and ROI-driven.